Home sweet tiny home

Last Saturday was the meetup for my photography group, I scheduled it in Thibodaux, which is the home of Nicholls University (excellent culinary program, naturally) and about 2/3 of the way to New Orleans from Abbeville. I confess to an ulterior motive for having it there: the photography project I’m working on right now (and for the forseeable future, as I keep discovering new potential additions) is called Saints of Louisiana, and I read that the Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph has relics (an arm bone) of St. Valerie. Alleged, anyway; I mean who’s to say the Pope didn’t just nip off down to the catacombs with a chisel and send any old arm bone off to Louisiana. Anyway, they enclosed it in an almost life-sized wax statue, which is in a kind of glass coffin, it’s super creepy.

Saint Valerie

WTF is up with the angle of her neck, she’s either having an epileptic seizure or a massive orgasm. Stay weird, Roman Catholic Church! Speaking of which, they also had a statue of my girl:

Saint Lucy

Yes, that is a plate of eyeballs.

Afterwards we went to Laurel valley Village, which I’ve been to before but Hope hasn’t.

Laurel Valley Village

To sum up: Giant sugar co-op has their workers (not slaves, this was after the Civil War) live in a little village, it goes bust during the Great Depression, place falls apart for a few decades until a history professor from Nicholls re-discovers it, they attempt to restore one building and go “Eff this, it’s too much work/money”, they settle for keeping it in a state of “arrested decay”. I think it makes a more interesting photo subject this way, anyway.

On the drive to Thibodaux, I passed a property along LA-14 in Iberia Parish that had tiny homes for sale and almost drove off the road. I have been obsessed with the Tiny House Movement since shortly after I moved to Louisiana, and I recently saw the documentary TINY: A Story About Living Small, so it’s been on my mind more than usual. Around here most people buy them to use as camps, but they were the real thing all right, less than 200 square feet and on a flatbed. He had 3 different designs, I’d love to see what they’re like inside.

 photo tiny-house-home-design_zpstfgpglrf.jpg

It’s a daydream of mine to get one and put it on my grandparents’ old property, although realistically I don’t know if I’d really care to live in close proximity with that many cousins. I’m saving for a car right now (my Pontiac has over 180,000 miles on it) and I’m seriously considering getting a truck, because if I have a truck, I can move a Tiny House wherever I need to. Hurricane coming? No problem, I’ll just haul it into Lafayette or Baton Rouge until it passes. Have fun re-building, suckers. I also wouldn’t mind having a boat one day–nothing at all fancy, just there are a lot of places I’d like to see that aren’t accessible by road nowadays (the Sabine Pass Light, Chenier au Tigre, Fort Simon). This is a boat culture and I’m sure I could get a used one cheap from someone who was upgrading.

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Feast of St. Lucy

…was yesterday, and this year’s altar was a little more elaborate than last year’s:

Feast of St. Lucy

I always have the statue, incense, and at least one candle on her altar. Oh, and the flowers are usually dried, because I’m not made of money, come on. The extra offerings–extra candles (including a novena which will stay lit); fresh flowers; peppermint schnapps; Occhi di Santa Lucia cookies I made myself–will stay up for 9 days, from her feast day to the winter solstice. On each of those nights I will say 9 prayers (now you know why the St. Lucy chaplet I made has 9 beads), instead of my customary one.

The little jar between the candles is Eyes of St. Lucy oil, which can only be made during a novena for St. Lucy and is most powerful when the novena takes place during this period. There’s a few different recipes for this and they really only have 2 things in common, rue and olive oil–St. Lucy was Italian, after all. Mine is olive oil with rue, myrrh, angelica, star anise (2 intact ones, to represent eyes), and a rock of blessed Dead Sea salt. Like frankincense, I add that to a lot of my oils for extra oomph. You can dress candles with it, rub it on your hands before you pray, dab a little (a VERY little–it has salt in it) on your eyelids before going to bed for prophetic dreams. It will only be ready to use at the end of the novena.

The color of the candle holders all have special meaning; there are many colors associated with St. Lucy instead of the one or two that most saints have. Red because she was martyred; silver (or white) because she is a solstice saint; green for evergreen in winter; gold for light (the Latin for Lucy is Lux, which means light). The novena candle is actually white, as they pretty much all are, but I pulled it out and rolled it in green glitter before lighting it. Also why I chose green and white flowers.

another weekend, another trip to New Orleans

It’s been noted that I’m in New Orleans so much that I might as well live there, but I like the country, too. I love visiting cities, I don’t necessarily want to be in them 24-7.

Anyway. Saturday was the Piety Street Holiday Market, and a friend of mine in the New Orleans Photo Alliance had a booth, so I decided to go. They have the market every 3rd weekend in the Old Ironworks in Bywater; there are 2 in December and I think they have extra vendors as well. It’s a combination craft fair/flea market, and I think there’s sometimes live music. And of course food, because this is New Orleans we’re talking about.


christmas cactus, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

I love Bywater. It’s the Berkeley (or Red Hook) of New Orleans. If I WAS going to live in the city, I’d want to live either there or in Marigny.

I just went for something to do–I’m done with my shopping anyway–but actually I was really surprised with the quality of the stuff being sold.


old checks, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

My friend was selling, among other things, “paper ephemera”: old checks and bills. These are from 1895, 1899, and 1907. People had such cool handwriting back then, all spidery and curlicued.

I also bought a mixed-paper journal made from an old French-language children’s book (I’m always meaning to do something like that myself, I have enough paper craft supplies), and a couple of 4×6 matted prints from a local artist. (One for me, one for a friend.)


nola doorway (filter), originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

The one I’m keeping is a photo of a doorway on Rue Dauphine. Clearly, I like photos of doorways in New Orleans. I take dozens of them.


snowballs, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

I also had a key lime snowball. Snowballs are a southern Louisiana thing, and they are miles better than a grainy, gritty snowcone. They’re more like Hawaiian shaved ice, with a very fine, snow-like texture. Lots of places are seasonal, opening around either Mardi Gras or Easter and closing around the time the clocks are set back. But some places are open year-round.


rooster graffiti, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

There was a really cool mural on the outside of the Old Ironworks.


saint lucy, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

Afterward, since I was in the neighborhood already, I drove to St. Roch to take some photos of that delightfully morbid body part chapel with my Z2300. I also realized that last time I neglected to take any photos of the statue of St. Lucy. Yes, those are eyeballs on a tray.

Then I drove over to Magazine Street. There’s a stationery store called Scriptura that a friend told me about, I bought some stationery and a pocket notebook and replenished my NOLA postcard stash for Postcrossing.com. Afterwards I went to 2 galleries on the same street to see a couple of different photo exhibits that opened as part of PhotoNOLA.

I really enjoyed the Contemporary Antiques exhibit at the Octavia Art Gallery. It was curated by Frank Relle, but a lot of the photographers are amateurs, and most of their photos were taken with cell phones. It’s fun to see the kinds of things that catches other people’s eyes, and the sheer amount of photos–blown up to 6×6 (I think, I didn’t measure them), with identical white mattes and mounted floor-to-ceiling–was dizzying. I’m an old school film photographer, but I like that literally everyone carries around a camera with them on their phone now. I think it encourages people to pay attention to their surroundings, to look for beauty and fascination in the mundane, and I think it probably teaches them things like composition and framing without their even knowing.

I also went to the Leslie Addison and George Yerger exhibit at the Cole Pratt Gallery. I’ve been interested in these artists since shortly after I moved to Louisiana and they were featured in an issue of Louisiana Life. They use plastic cameras (Holgas, mostly) like myself. In a way they encouraged me to start taking my own work more seriously, because I looked at their photos and thought “Hell, I could do that. I DO do that.”

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